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Researchers launch project to investigate how Covid-19 affects pregnancy

17 April 2020

Pregnant woman sat on bed

Cardiff University is collaborating with Imperial College London to establish a global registry of those affected by Covid-19 in pregnancy.

The Centre for Trials Research (CTR) will host the PAN-COVID online database of women with suspected and confirmed coronavirus from early pregnancy to after delivery of the baby.

The UK government has said limited evidence suggests there are no coronavirus-related complications in pregnancy but pregnant women are being advised to limit social contact.

It is hoped this research will help scientists gain a better understanding of how coronavirus affects early pregnancy, fetal growth, prematurity and virus transmission to the baby.

The 18-month study is part of 21 new projects into novel coronavirus announced today by the UK government.

Julia Townson, the research fellow leading the CTR team in Cardiff, is in charge of building the online database where healthcare professionals from the UK and around the world will be able to enter data directly.

“We hope this project will provide researchers with a huge amount of information to help guide prevention and treatment of coronavirus for pregnant women during this pandemic,” she said.

“At the moment we know very little about how Covid-19 affects pregnancy and babies after delivery so this is obviously an area of big concern for many people right now.

“We hope this research will provide a greater understanding of how it affects every aspect of pregnancy, on a global scale.”

The CTR will support the study, providing academic expertise in web and database development, data and study management and statistical analyses.

The study, led by Professor Christoph Lees and Dr Ed Mullins from Imperial College London, is part of a £24.6m rapid research response funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “The research community’s response to the Covid-19 crisis has been outstanding. The pace at which this work has been carried out is tribute to the UK’s world-class research base and its dedication to the fight against this disease.”

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